DALLAS/FORT WORTH – KERA examines the impact that unemployment and the recession are having on the lives of North Texans in an hour-long special, The Economy:  Facing the Mortgage Crisis, premiering Wednesday, July 22, at 8 p.m. on KERA-TV and simulcast on KERA-FM.

Hosted by KERA’s Sam Baker and Shelley Kofler, the program will feature studio discussions and taped segments that shed light on the complicated process of foreclosure and explain to those out of work for the first time how they can tap into unemployment assistance.  The program will also connect families and individuals with the resources available through “2-1-1 Texas,” a service of the Health and Human Service Commission’s Texas Information and Referral Network that offers free information to those in need.

“The need for information and assistance is great because Texas state law allows a home to be foreclosed in as little as three months,” said Rick Thompson, Executive Producer of The Economy:  Facing the Mortgage Crisis. “While this started out as more of a subprime problem, the increase in unemployment is now exacerbating the crisis.”

Guests for the studio discussion include Dana Dillard, Senior Vice President for GMAC Mortgage and a member of the HOPENOW Alliance that works to prevent foreclosure; M. Joyce Brown, Housing Officer with the Dallas County Home Loan Counseling Center; Tom Pauken, Chairman of the Texas Workforce Commission; Lisa Miller, Vice President of the CareerConnection in Dallas; and Kervyn Altaffer, Managing Attorney at Legal Aid of NorthWest Texas, who works with clients to help prevent foreclosure and mortgage scams.

The Economy:  Facing the Mortgage Crisis will incorporate questions from North Texans who are undergoing tough economic challenges.  Those with questions can submit them in advance by calling 214-740-9226 or emailing

The Economy: Facing the Mortgage Crisis will be rebroadcast Sunday, July 26, at 2 p.m.   The program is part of KERA’s year-long, multimedia initiative on the economy that makes use of the public broadcaster’s media assets – KERA-TV, KERA-FM (90.1 in Dallas/Fort Worth/Denton, 99.3 in Sherman, 100.1 in Tyler and 88.3 in Wichita Falls) and the Web site – to provide vital, balanced information and reporting on current economic issues.  The Economy project launched July 8 and includes television and radio specials, weekly radio reports, related national programming and a dedicated Web site,

Facing the Mortgage Crisis is part of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting’s Public Service Media Economic Response Initiative.

KERA’s Community Advisory Group for The Economy project includes ACORN Housing, BCL of Texas, Catholic Charities, CCCS of Greater Dallas, CCCS of North Central Texas, Central Dallas Ministries, ChildCareGroup, Children’s Medical Center, Community Council of Greater Dallas, Dallas After-School Network, Dallas Concilio, Enterprise Community Partners, Fannie Mae, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, Freddie Mac, Goodwill Industries of Dallas, Head Start of Greater Dallas, Housing Crisis Center, HUD, Jordan Community Development Corp., Money Management International, North Texas Food Bank, North Texas Housing Coalition, Northeast Texas 2-1-1, Parkland Hospital, Salvation Army, Holy Trinity Center, Tarrant Area Food Bank, Tarrant County Housing Partnership, Texoma Area 2-1-1, United Way of Metropolitan Dallas, United Way of Tarrant County, Urban League, Workforce Solutions and YWCA of Dallas.

For more information about “2-1-1 Texas” and the services available, visit or simply dial 2-1-1.

Program host Sam Baker is Senior Editor of News and Public Affairs and local host for Morning Edition on KERA-FM.  He also edits and produces radio commentaries and has produced KERA versions of the NPR series This I Believe and StoryCorps.   Baker was host of KERA-TV’s Emmy Award-winning public affairs program On the Record, which addressed a wide range of issues from a North Texas perspective.

Co-host Shelley Kofler is an award-winning political reporter and television producer who joined KERA as News Director in 2007. From 2000-2004, she served as the Austin Bureau Chief and legislative reporter for North Texas ABC affiliate WFAA-TV.  Kofler also covered government issues for North Texas NBC affiliate KXAS-TV and worked with KERA on numerous public affairs projects, including nationally broadcast programs.

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